‘CodeY’: La Jolla woman pens her first novel, with romantic comedy, drama, action adventure — and a pandemic

La Jollan Lamar Rutherford has self-published her first book, the action-adventure novel “CodeY.”

La Jollan Lamar Rutherford self-published her first book, the action-adventure novel “CodeY,” in the spring, and she’s already busy writing the sequel.

The book, about three doctors who met in medical school and engage in an experiment to find their “perfect genetic matches,” asks the question, “What is love?”

“Is it really about people who match you perfectly, or is there more to it?” Rutherford said.

Rutherford, who has lived in The Village for seven years after residing in several places along the East and West coasts, said the book, set in the future, contains three parts — a “romantic comedy, a drama and action adventure, all in one novel.”

“CodeY” contains several “interesting twists and turns,” she said, culminating in a timely plot development, though coincidental, considering she “sat on” the finished book for 18 months before publishing it: The evil force in the novel tries to take over the world via a viral pandemic.

Rutherford, who has 10 years’ experience as a business broker in mergers and acquisition and taught entrepreneurship for several years at UC San Diego, said she “never really set out to write a book.”

However, she said, “I make up stories all the time.”

“CodeY” came from a story she crafted while driving with a friend to the desert. “My friend said, ‘Oh, you should write that,’” Rutherford said, and she began to write the story down.

“I kept writing, and 18 months later I had a book,” she said.

Writing the novel involved “drawing from my experiences in life; I have a lot of those,” she said. “I’ve traveled all over the world, I have done all kinds of crazy things. I’ve had more careers than cats have lives.”

Though Rutherford said she researched various places for “CodeY,” she said her extensive travel influenced her writing. “I’ve seen different countries, different customs,” many of which appear in the book, she said.

“Even business brokering informed” her writing, she said. “I [brokered for] a business that sold guns, and there is an element of that [in] the story as well.”

"CodeY" by La Jollan Lamar Rutherford is out now. She is working on its sequel.

Rutherford said some of the many characters in the novel are based on people she knows. A “slightly autistic” character’s behavior is based on the reactions of “friends’ children in different scenarios.”

Writing “CodeY” was “kind of fun,” she said, though making up the story became “complicated, so I had to write it down. It was entertaining … like a puzzle, how it all comes together, how the characters all come together.”

Rutherford said she was challenged by creating a story that raised the themes she intended while aiming “at the same time to delight and entertain. I enjoyed that process.”

Some of the issues in the novel are “light, and some are heavier,” she said. The lighter topics include self-driving cars and “what would a virtual-reality bar be like,” while heavier subjects explore betrayal of friendship and the treatment of women in different cultures.

Once “CodeY” was published in April, Rutherford turned her attention to its sequel. Though she estimates it’ll be 18 more months before her second novel is ready to publish, “I write for fun, pleasure and enjoyment,” she said. “I don’t like to put rules around it. I’m about 18 chapters in, but I’ve got a ways to go.”

“CodeY” is available for $14.99 at